October 25th, 2012
10:45 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama video compares voting to losing virginity

(CNN) – Conservatives seemed to collectively gasp Thursday night when a web video from President Barack Obama's campaign slyly compared a person's first time voting to losing one's virginity.

The star of the video, Lena Dunham, created and stars in the HBO show "Girls." In the video, she appears in a close-up shot explaining the first time she voted.

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"Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody," the actress and writer says. "You want to do it with a great guy."

The unspoken comparison continues, as Dunham describes what kind of "guy" she's talking about.

"It should be with a guy that really understands women," she says. "A guy who cares whether you get health insurance, specifically whether you get birth control. The consequences are huge. You want to do it with a guy who brought the troops out of Iraq. You don't want to do it with a guy who says, 'Hey I'm at the library studying,' when really he's out not signing the Lilly Ledbetter act."

At the end, the metaphor becomes even clearer: "My first time voting was amazing. There's a line in the sand. Before I was a girl, now I was a woman."

"I went to the polling station, I pulled back the curtain. I voted for Barack Obama," the video concludes.

Dunham, whose show on HBO centers around her character's life as a young woman in New York City, doesn't shy away from risqué topics. In a taped opening at this year's Emmys, she was featured completely nude, eating a cake on a toilet. HBO, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner.

Conservatives expressed consternation at the Obama campaign video, suggesting it was a step into the gutter for the incumbent Democrat.

"The more we talk about it in this campaign, the more insulting it is to women," Kellyanne Conway, a Republican strategist, said on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

"They can do the math. Not everything has to be about biology," Conway said.

The reaction was similar on Twitter.

[tweet https://twitter.com/PatrickRuffini/status/261639609300185088%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/261617752136114176%5D

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Filed under: 2012 • President Obama
soundoff (397 Responses)
  1. Blade of Freedom

    This... is outright disturbing. Do the women of America appreciate this? How about this... Obama, lose the smart-guy attitude. That's not something to joke about.

    October 26, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. TRAM

    All of you people that have your narrow mind in the GUTTER are the morons that's voting for romnezia. She is talking about voting for the first time stupid

    October 26, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Does Michelle like it

    Tell me Libs...is this something that Michelle would want Sasha and Melia watching. She said she only allows them 2 hours of TV time. Is this the quality stuff she wants them to watch...I highly doubt it.

    October 26, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. High Way

    The republican conservatives thinks of themselves so righteous that they are voting for Mitt, a man that has no word or princples. A person that changes his mind like Mitt from moment to moment is a recipe for disaster. Its a wreckless mind to provoke distrust and conflict around the globe when dealing with leaders of other countries and with its own people. Republicans think they are voting for one of their own but they might inadvertantly vote in a person that could provoke a third world war and the downfall of USA. Don't the extremely religious right of the republican party believe in the end of the world scenario as said in the bible? They might make it a prophecy come true with Mitt.

    October 26, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. El J

    I would NEVER allow a man to come to my door and speak to my daughter this way. Most, in fact, would slam the door call the police if a man came soliciting their daughter's "voting virginity"! Fathers everywhere should be letting the president know he is OUT OF LINE speaking to our daughters, whether directly or indirectly, this way! This ad is degrading, repulsive, abusive and offensive on so many levels! This filth was directed at our daughters, our children! This is NOT acceptable! Our daughters deserve better!

    October 26, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. Malory Archer


    Appeals to the younger crowd and offends everyone else.


    While I'm not old, I'm not exactly a spring chicken, and I find nothing at all offensive about this ad. Of course, I don't have a dirty mind, so that might have something to do with it.

    October 26, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. Malory Archer

    Pat F

    They should have ended the ad with "Once you go Barack, you never go back", just to drive the analogy home, so to speak.

    Pretty creepy. As usual, the Dems assume women begin and end with their genitalia.


    No, what's creepy is that you and your ilk liken it to women's genitalia.

    October 26, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. bethjoyce

    The Right just can't take it, can they!!

    October 26, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. lovespandas

    @Malory Archer – for your information, it doesn't take a dirty mind to get the drift of that ad. It is offensive, stupid and grasping at straws. He's losing and he is desperate.

    October 26, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. El J

    How DARE He or anyone representing HIM speak to OUR DAUGHTERS this way?! This language, these innuendos, which are NOT "sly" CNN, would never be allowed in the work place or in school. This language would be considered sexual harassment, or at the very least, extremely inappropriate warranting a writeup and discipline. So, what makes YOU think, Mr. President, that YOU can pipe this filthy garbage into our homes, directly before OUR DAUGHTERS?! No, Mr. President, our daughter's do not need to "lose their voting virginity" to a married man, with two teenage daughters of his own, and who is three times their age! The mere thought is REPULSIVE!

    October 26, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. El J

    Sorry. I hit the board a few times thinking my iPad had snagged my post up somewhere, but now they're showing up. Didn't mean to hammer the board.

    October 26, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. Oakspar77777

    Gross. Truely gross.

    I'm too disgusted even for typical political outrage.

    Most women care about jobs, taxes, and the future for themselves and their children – the same things most men care about. Why does the Democratic party keep denegrating wormen by insisting that every "woman's" issue is an anatomical one?

    In the US, we don't marry our presidents – we date them. They have a term, maybe a second term, and they we find someone new. If you are putting a life long commitment on someone for a second "date" then you are not putting much value on yourself (and yes, relations are a lifelong commitment – ask anyone who has contracted hiv).

    I'm not shocked that this exists – there are plenty of people in the world with bad judgement. I am only ashamed that it came out of the campaign office of the sitting POTUS. Offensive and shaming.

    October 26, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. hurryup2012

    Obama must be really really desperate

    October 26, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. MhunterJr

    I thought it was the liberals who were overly sensitive to matters of "political correctness"

    October 26, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. mom2homer

    This ad isn't intended to appeal to middle aged ostriches who want their children to wait for marriage before having sex but who, statistically speaking, likely didn't wait themselves. The vast majority of U.S. Americans are sexually active by age 20, and an almost equal majority will have premarital sex. I imagine young, first-time voters will appreciate the ad. 18-yr-olds know (more likely than not) from personal experience that "abstinence only" education doesn't work. The ad doesn't say "go out and have irresponsible sex"; it says "you are an adult, make wise choices."

    October 26, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. freedom

    I thought CNN just pulled an article about women's hormones and voting because it outraged so many women. How is this ad any different? Do Democrats not know that they're showing their blatant double standard?? Obama is truly desperate and as usual, narcissistic to make this analogy. No, most women do not find you so cool or attractive. And as a president – fail.

    October 26, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. Malory Archer


    I chose to wait for marriage for my first time.


    So you're not going to vote until you get married? Why not?

    October 26, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. High Way

    El J says,"I would NEVER allow a man to come to my door and speak to my daughter this way. Most, in fact, would slam the door call the police if a man came soliciting their daughter's "voting virginity"!"

    I bet you'd be ok with the comments of Murdoch & Atkins that pregnancy from rape is the will of GOD. For your information, ignorance is the source of all problems. GOD gave us the capacity to be intelligent and grow wise. All the technologies you enjoy comes from that as the medical technologies which help men and women.

    October 26, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. Dea

    it does not offend me I am old woman and I ahve voted early for OBAMA and I urge others to do so. The progressive thoughts and blunt message is very important I appreciate it!!

    October 26, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Lloy Kalispell, MT

    A brilliantly targeted commercial for the millions of young voters going to the polls for their first thrilling, legal, civic experience. Anyone imagining they are deeply offended by this ad should simply flip the TV back to their favorite Babes with Bullets show on the Outdoor Channel. Or some old Tammy Faye Baker videos.

    October 26, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. Dan

    This ad is desperate, disturbing, sexist & improper. Obama is really off the hinges these days. Let's hope CNN & other outlets give this ad as much "analysis" they give other stories like Todd Akin & Richard Mourdock, fair is fair.


    I voted Obama 08, voting Mitt 2012

    October 26, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. Anne

    are young American women that stupid to respond positively to this creepy ad? Maybe it was the idea of that hysterical deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, but it shows how low and meaningless the Obama campaign has become.

    October 26, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. Inde Di

    Go for it Mr Prez. The right can use words like "deathbeds", "retard", "you lie" but the moment the libs step out of the box there is an outcry! I say about time the libs bring some shockwaves. If this little video makes you switch to the rich boy then you never stood for liberal idea to begin with anwyay. The GOPers can dish sit out but they cant take it. OBAM/BIDEN 2012

    October 26, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. Bren

    Classes just like the rest of the Obamanation campaign. Its correlating a thought that a womans most important thing is her body. Makes me feel blessed that is not my daughter – made her look cheap.

    October 26, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Wow

    If this ad doesn't project the most pathetic desperation, then it projects the sleaze that typifies the democratic party.

    I can't wait until Nov 7 to see all this nonsense end.

    Love, Bigbird

    October 26, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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